18-year old girl living in fear after defying her parents' wish to face the cut.


Female Genital Mutilation is a deeply rooted cultural practice, although the reasons vary between ethnic groups.  For some, it is an important rite of passage, for others it is closely tied to marriageability or the concepts of family honor and the need to preserve sexual purity.
Among the Kalenjin, women who have not been cut are seen as promiscuous, immoral and imitators of Western culture.
So when *Veronica Cherotich (not her real name) completed her primary education in 2013 in Eldoret, through the help of an aunt, her parents decided that it was now time for the second born in a family of two girls and three boys to undergo the important cultural event.
But her aunt convinced her parents to allow the young girl to first continue with her secondary school so that when she underwent the rite, she would also be ready for marriage and may be fetch the parents a higher bride price due to her education.
After the KCPE results, Cherotich was admitted to popular a national school in Thika after topping her class and later transferred to a school in Kinangop where she finished her secondary education in 2017 and attained an aggregate grade of a C+.
All the time, the parents were reminding her of her promise and when she completed secondary education, she knew that the only way to escape the cut was to fail to return home. She stayed in Nairobi with her elder sister and brother-in law.
This decision irked her parents and caused a strained relationship between them and her aunt whom they accused of betrayal.
When her parents learnt of her whereabouts, her mother came to fetch her but she was denied by the sister and brother in –law.

He son in-law 
bluntly told the old lady that the girl’s dream to be a Vet surgeon would be disrupted by the rite.
Back home, the mzee got so furious that he sent his youngest son to the young couple warn them that they risked falling into a curse if they did not release the girl but they remained admant and stuck their guts.
On 7th May this year, Cherotich visited her aunt in Kitale and as fate would have it, the parents got wind abot this and attempted to forcifully take her home the following day.

She was rescued from the planned kidnap by good Samaritans who came to her aid as the scene turned ugly. Her kin assaulted and injured her but she thanks God she managed to get out of this ordeal.
Her sister and her husband took her back to Nairobi and reported the matter at International Life House police station under OB No.09/05/18.

She is now hiding in an an undisclosed location to safeguard her from a rite she has sworn not to undergo.
Speaking to Thika Town Today from her hiding, Cherotich tearfully said her greatest fear is how she would pursue her education and fulfill her dream of becoming a veterinary surgeon.
She said she has learnt from reliable sources from her Sosiot village Kaplamai location Trans Nzoia that her father has already received dowry for her marriage to a man his age and the parents are under pressure to either produce her or return the dowry.
“I fear the day my parents will discover where I am and the consequences and in don’t feel safe” she said.
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